WARSAW — On the first official day of the 2018-2019 school year, the Warsaw Community Schools’ Board of School Trustees met in a work session and heard presentations on continued school success, advanced placement programs with dual credit courses as well as reports on grades and grading. The experts in analytics and student assessments were discussing the educational version of a football coach’s study of X’s and O’s to determine the best ways to get WCS students ready for the next level.
“Something that we’ve been looking at last year and into the summer is trying to look at the amount of time that we use to do state and district assessments,” said Chief Analytics Officer Shelly Wilfong. “We really took a hard examination of all the assessments that we did to try to figure out how we could be get all that data into the most useful format possible.”
For students looking to get a head start on college, no high school programs fit that mission better than dual credit and advanced placement classes.
“We have not seen any fall-off with dual credits received,” said Warsaw Community High School Principal Troy Akers. “We’ve always been a leader in AP as far as the number of AP courses that are offered.” Akers said the school corporation is investigating steps to allow students to take advanced placement courses that previously could not be justified due to low enrollment in those classes. He said that historically, it was not deemed feasible to provide a class unless the interest was broad enough to provide a certain number of students.
The school corporation boasted 1,228 students who received dual credit last school year and have 1,158 enrolled so far for 2018-2019. Akers pointed out that while those numbers are currently down from 2016-2017, participation has spiked dramatically from years previous. Advanced placement enrollment has risen from 238 last year to 290 currently.
Akers also said the school corporation is encouraging teachers to pursue master’s degrees since many advanced courses need that credential for accreditation.
“I’m pleased with where things are,” said Akers. “I do think the students understand we’re looking for a total body of work.” Superintendent Dr. David Hoffert told the school board that WCS had achieved $1.5 million in college credit last year.
In other business, the board:
- Heard presentations from human resources regarding new hires and positions that still need filled. The school corporation is still short of paraprofessionals.
- Heard a financial report from Chief Financial Officer Dr. Brandon Penrod.
- Heard a report from Chief Academic Officer Dr. David Robertson and Chief Technology Officer Brad Hagg regarding school security, including drafts of policies regarding the use of wand metal detectors.
- Heard a report from Hagg on a proposed computer program called Gaggle Speak-Up that would be used to give students a forum for reporting safety or policy concerns.